Being an environmental educator in today’s world feels like you are asked to stop a rushing river armed only with a teaspoon. There are so many issues coming at you—from climate change to habitat destruction, from oceans of plastic to endangered species and from the loss of biodiversity to melting glaciers and the list goes on… Teaching children about these formidable challenges seems daunting, overwhelming and at times, well – hopeless.[i] And despite our best efforts, things just seem to be getting worse.
Perhaps like a reversed telescope, environmental education is being looked at in the wrong way. Instead of dealing with reactions to problems and to trying to solve environmental issues as they arise, it may be worthwhile to think about the type of citizen we want for our earth. Or, as Simeon Ogonda, a youth development leader from Kenya, asks: “Many of us often wonder what kind of planet we’re leaving behind for our children. But few ask the opposite: what kind of children are we leaving behind for our planet?”[ii] Raising environmentally engaged citizens doesn’t happen by itself. As the saying goes, “it takes a village.”
All of us collectively are responsible for fostering the stewards of tomorrow.